UN urges Greece to adopt safe, impartial border protection policies
'Role of racism, systemic racism in treatment of asylum-seekers must be confronted within any meaningful review of these practices,' say UN experts
By Burak Bir
LONDON (AA) – UN experts on Wednesday condemned Greece for its "lack of accountability for violations" involving its law enforcement personnel, calling for the adoption of safe and impartial border protection policies.
"We urge Greece to take steps to ensure a transparent and impartial investigation into allegations of violations of the principles of non-refoulement and non-discrimination and of the right to life involving Greek law enforcement personnel, including the Hellenic Coast Guard, and border violence," a group of UN experts said in a statement.
They expressed concern over Greece's failure to provide prompt and effective assistance to irregular migrants, as well as safe disembarkation and adequate reception of migrants.
The statement recalled reports that 12 asylum seekers fleeing war and repression were rounded up by masked men, stripped of their belongings, and forcibly taken to the port of Mytilene in Lesbos in April.
Following the incident, UN experts demanded detailed information from Athens regarding allegations of human rights violations and abuses.
"The violence, which was captured on video – verified, and reported by the media – exposed the racist exclusion and cruelty of Europe’s border protection practices," they added.
The statement emphasized that, while the investigation is ongoing, there is "growing evidence of a deliberate and coordinated" policy of forcible return and other dehumanizing border control practices by Greece.
"The role of racism and systemic racism in the treatment of asylum-seekers must be confronted within any meaningful review of these practices," the experts noted.
They also called on Greece to comply with the Recommended Principles and Guidelines on Human Rights at International Borders and the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.
The experts underlined that these removals are also contrary to the recommendation of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, calling on states to "ensure that non-citizens are not subjected to collective expulsions."
Türkiye and global rights groups have repeatedly condemned Greece’s illegal practice of pushing back irregular migrants, saying it violates humanitarian values and international law by endangering the lives of vulnerable migrants, including women and children.
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